Basic and Pascal

Basic and Pascal

qBasic

My first programming language was Basic – qBasic.
I met Mr. Q. Basic when Floppy Disks were actually floppy. Now… disks what??

Someone may recall pleasant memories while watching the next video. Here we can see the qBasic interface. Although essential, it felt quite friendly. From website:

 

At that age the artificial mind seemed something that could eventually be done. I thought I just needed to teach a few ideas to my pc, through some smart coding. Those first ideas could seed and let my artificial brain grok more complex thoughts, and so on. My qBasic, a 386 pc – Hard disk 50 Mb, Ram  4 Mb – seemed ok. Easy. But I needed to learn some electronics first. A robot wouldn’t sprout without a body.
A quarter of a century has past: technology grew exponentially more powerful, but the problem is still unsolved.

Turbo Pascal

Time passed. In highschool I met Turbo Pascal.

Turbo Pascal was this guy ( website):

!World Hello

I wasn’t paying attention to the teacher, so my first TP program had some issues. The Pascal editor, usually a boring blue, was screaming warnings in bloody red rows all over the screen.
So I debugged Pascal for the first time. I carefully corrected my code, line by line, doing what the debugger asked of me. This is what the code looked like after my intervention:

Program Addition_of_Three_Numbers
;Uses Crt
;Var a, b, c, sum : integer;Begin
;Clrscr

;readln
;End

From my standpoint – and Pascal’s, who wasn’t threatening me anymore – some punctuation maquillage did good and everythng worked fine. My maths teacher, on the other hand, wasn’t happy. She hissed some poisonous words, asking me whether I was making fun of her.

Some Basic was still on my mind. So I found Visual Basic: finally, something real! Thaks to a cheap student licence I could now create. Real things – windows, buttons, text boxes, images. Enough with determinants, circle areas, second degree equations. It was the freeware and shareware games age. Anything seemed possible. Except, maybe, the artificial intelligence. Now it looked like some very, very tall mountain to climb to the top. Almost unreachable. A scientists army seemed barely enough to tackle the problem.
A couple of decades later I would study Neural Networks. It is possible, after all.

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